It’s been 179 minutes and 50 seconds of game time since the San Diego Chargers defense forced a takeaway. The Chargers got an interception from nose tackle Cam Thomas on the first play from scrimmage of the season, but haven’t gotten an interception or fumble recovery since. The lack of takeaways, along with the defense allowing over 470 yards per game and the inability to perform in crunch time, are the main reasons the Chargers are 1-2, with both losses coming by three points.
A missed opportunity for an interception at the end of the game against the Tennessee Titans directly resulted in the loss. Strong safety Marcus Gilchrist dropped a gift interception, which would’ve sealed it for the Bolts, but instead allowed the Titans to keep the ball and allowed Jake Locker to find Justin Hunter in the endzone four plays later.
The Chargers offense has done a good job at not turning the football over through the first three games, something that Philip Rivers and company failed to do the past two seasons. Through three games, the Bolts have turned the ball over four times (one being in the failed lateral play at the end of the Titans game), but still stand -3 in turnover differential because of the defense.
Injuries, poor play by the secondary, and a lack of pass rush all contribute to the Bolts’ inability to create turnovers. However, the team’s mentality could also be holding them back. The Chargers might be better off with a more aggressive approach on defense rather than a bend but don’t break style.
There’s no wonder that teams that preach takeaways on defense – the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears – are two of the best teams in the league. Along with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seahawks and Bears lead the league in turnover differential and by no coincidence are all 3-0.
If the Bolts could simply find a way to create turnovers on defense, the yards they are currently giving up can be more forgivable. But until then, the Bolts defense (and surprisingly not the offense) will be the reason this team fails to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year.